By Angelica Driskell – Victor Martinez, one of the top ranked IFBB Pro Bodybuilders in the world and the face of nutrition powerhouse MHP, hosted his second great event of 2014 benefiting Autism Speaks! Many bodybuilding fans are familiar with the hard work Vic puts into his training, but not as many know how much time and energy he puts into Fit For Autism. What started as small fundraiser in 2007 has grown exponentially over the years. The most recent event was held on Sunday, June 8th at the UFC Gym in Edgewater, NJ. This marked the second of three events being held this year.
“My personal mission is to use my pro bodybuilding status and influence to make an impact on the lives of children affected by autism,” says Victor. “I want to make a difference in the lives of not only my own children, but all of the people who are not as fortunate to have the physical ability that myself and other athletes have. This is something that is very dear to my heart.”
This was a day filled with fun and fitness. Victor was joined by fellow IFBB pro Jon De La Rosa and other special guests. The support from head sponsor MHP and the various local vendors was overwhelming, turning an empty parking lot into a massive block party with food, music, entertainment and more. Many of the adults enjoyed the local cuisine, while kids rallied in the moon bounce.
Everyone gathered during the Fitness Challenge to cheer on the competitors gunning for top prize, a $500 Grand Prize gift pack from MHP. The Fitness Challenge included pull-ups, bench press, burpees, tire flip and an obstacle course. Competitors’ scores were ranked in order of performance. In addition, competitors were asked to get pledges supporting their efforts. They were then ranked in order of fundraising.
With their combined score determining the winner, the event ended in a three-way tie for first place! James Mariano, who incidentally received the highest ranking in the Fitness Challenge portion with an impressive 1:48 second finish in the obstacle course, won the MHP Grand Prize through a random drawing tie-breaker. The top six competitors all received prize packs from MHP. With the help of generous sponsors and outstanding competitors, we raised approximately $4,000 for Autism Speaks. Congratulations to all the competitors!
1st – James Mariano (MHP Grand Prize Winner)
2nd – Austin Philbon
3rd – Salam Diri
4th – Derek Reith
5th – Jacob Panotas
6th – Darwin Fajardo
If you would like to support Victor’s efforts, please consider making a donation by visiting FitForAutism.com/donate. Stay tuned to MHPSTRONG.com or visit FitForAutism.com for details on the upcoming event at the Colosseum Gym in Columbia, MD, on June 29th, also sponsored by MHP.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL FEARS